FAQs for Clients and their Families
Are people in custody at CDCR getting vaccinated?
Yes. CDCR reports that some inmates and employees started receiving the vaccine in late December 2020. These vaccinations are supplied through the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). As of late January 2021, more than 30,000 individuals have received first-round vaccines statewide (Staff: 22,234; Patients: 8,782). CDCR intends to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to all CDCR employees and incarcerated individuals. Updates about distribution of the vaccine are available on the CDCR Covid-19 preparedness page. Frequently asked questions about the vaccine for residents of correctional facilities is available here.
Can my incarcerated family member or friend reach FDAP?
Yes. While our physical office is closed, we continue to work remotely and can be contacted by phone at (415) 495-3119. We can accept collect calls from inmates. The main number is answered by a live receptionist who can forward calls to any staff member, even if they are working remotely.
Is there a chance my loved one will be released from jail or prison early?
Maybe. Some counties, including Alameda and San Francisco, have ordered the early release of some non-violent offenders. The California Supreme Court has also issued an emergency relief advisory that could result in the release of some individuals. The Court is urging superior courts to:
- Lower bail amounts significantly for the duration of the coronavirus emergency, including lowering the bail amount to $0 for many lower level offenses.
- Consider a defendant’s existing health conditions, and conditions existing at the anticipated place of confinement, in setting conditions of custody for adult or juvenile defendants.
- Identify detainees with less than 60 days in custody to permit early release, with or without supervision or community-based treatment.
- Determine the nature of supervision violations that will warrant detention in county jail, or “flash incarceration,” to drastically reduce or eliminate its use during the current health crisis.
- Prioritize arraignments and preliminary hearings for in-custody defendants, and the issuance of restraining orders.
- Prioritize juvenile dependency detention hearings to ensure they are held within the time required by state and federal law.
- Allow liberal use of telephone or video appearance by counsel and defendants for routine or non-critical criminal matters.
As of July 1, 2020, CDCR will begin implementing a community supervision program for people with six months or less to serve on their sentence. Those with serious or violent felonies, domestic violence convictions or sex offender registration requirements are not eligible. CDCR has not provided guidance as to how the program will be administered, or how many people will be eligible for release.
What is being done to keep people in prison or jail safe from the pandemic?
The latest information about coronavirus in the state’s prisons, and efforts to protect inmates and staff, can be found on the CDCR website. For updates about ongoing litigation to address Covid-19 within CDCR, visit the Prison Law Office website. For information about self-advocacy, the Prison Advocacy Network has issued a “Routes To Release” resource guide.
If your loved one is medically-vulnerable (i.e. over the age of 60 or with an underlying health condition), you should consider reaching out to his or her attorney about options for seeking their early release.
Please understand that the situation is changing every day. We will try to update this information as often as we can.